New Report Chronicles Status of Climate Change Law and Policy in Hawai‘i


HONOLULU, HI (August 24, 2012) — As part of a collaborative project of the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program coordinated by the East-West Center, the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP) at the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program recently published Climate Change Law and Policy in Hawai‘i, Briefing Sheet, 2012. The report chronicles Hawai'i state efforts to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency to climate change impacts.

“The briefing sheet outlines the great work that has been accomplished thus far; however, there is much more to be done to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change,” says Malia Nobrega, ICAP Director of Strategic Partnerships.

 “As this chronicle shows, the people of Hawai‘i are leaders in tackling climate change. Adopting forward-thinking and innovative approaches—based on sound science and an in-depth understanding of community needs—will ensure that future generations are well prepared to address this complex challenge,” adds Melissa Finucane, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center.

ICAP envisions the briefing sheet as an objective, compact, and up-to-date resource for researchers, decision-makers, and the general public. Major policies covered include:

Hawai‘i’s Climate Change Law, requiring greenhouse gas emission reductions to amounts at or below 1990 levels by 2020;

  • the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, setting a goal to achieve 70 percent clean energy through 40 percent renewable energy and 30 percent energy efficiency by 2030;
  • the nation’s first Barrel Tax on Petroleum, which also designates funds for clean energy and climate change adaptation; and
  • the state Climate Change Adaptation Priority Guidelines, signed into law in 2012, which incorporate climate change adaptation into the Hawai‘i State Plan.

The report also provides key updates on each major policy and discusses selected county initiatives.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided support for the briefing sheet, which was a component of a collaborative project between ICAP and the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) Program at the East-West Center.

(Download pdf of release


ICAP facilitates a sustainable, climate-conscious future for Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and global island communities.

The University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program is part of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s prestigious School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. It supports an innovative program of research, education and extension services directed to the improved understanding and stewardship of coastal and marine resources of the state, region and nation. Science serving Hawai’i and the Pacific for over 40 years.

Pacific RISA strives to integrate natural and social sciences to enhance Pacific Island communities’ ability to understand, plan for, and respond to changing climate conditions.

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.